First – Relax. You will be fine
Despite what some may say there is not a Google “penalty” for duplicate content.
The word is “filter”. Google is not trying to punish sites for having duplicate content. They are trying to please their users. If multiple pages showed up in search engine results for the same content, then Google has failed to do its job. It makes sense to only show one site. Therefore, Google will filter out site from a search query that returns the same results. As a user of a search engine, that’s what I want.
Now that you know the Google is not evil, what should you do?
Yes, Google will only show one page if it is a duplicate of another. However, Google is also smart enough to know what page to show. If the site is gathering quality links and traffic, then that page will be the page that eventually takes over.
That is not to say search engine penalties do not exist, but hopefully that’s not you. Penalties are reserved for those attempting black hat techniques. These sites are intentionally trying to mislead the search engines. However, these are exceptions. Despite what the blogs may say these penalties are rare and usually happening to sites that are expecting the penalty. These are the so called “throw-away” sites. Deceptive web site owners intentionally break the rules for instant gratification, with the expectation that their site will get banned. Then, they open up a new site. However, for the average company who is worried about brand awareness, this is a non-issue and so is duplicate content.
If you find yourself having duplicate content, it’s not the end of the world. Yes, it is best to avoid duplicate content, but it some cases it’s inevitable.
Below are some basic guidelines to improve duplicate page filters:
- Extra Content – Wrap the content around consumer-generated content, such as reviews, notes, comments, etc.
- Unique Titles – Change the page titles on all pages. Even duplicated content needs unique title tags.
- Link Bait – Focus extra link building efforts on the primary site.
It’s important to keep in mind; duplicate content is not a new issue. Search engines have always tried to filter the results. And for the most part, they do an excellent job.
Duplicate content is not the end of the world and it can be overcome.
* Find more articles from John W Ellis at http://www.johnwellis.com/